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Reported by Sarah Mullane
Over a thousand former Thomas Cook employees flocked to an event in Manchester last week to sign up to legal action against its ex-employee. The event, hosted by union Unite, gave ex-employees the opportunity to sign up to a Protective Award; an additional redundancy compensation awarded where staff were not consulted before being made redundant.
It has been reported by the law firm instructed on behalf of the workers that the additional redundancy payment could equal as much as £4,200 per person, should an employment tribunal choose to order the award on behalf of Thomas Cook’s disgruntled ex-employees. If a tribunal does see in favour of the workers, the compensation would be paid directly by the government’s Insolvency Service, who have reported that a total of 6,002 Thomas Cook employees have been made redundant since the firm’s collapse last week. The anticipated legal action will argue that Thomas Cook acted unlawfully by not offering the Protective Award, with one ex-senior management worker claiming the firm was recruiting just days before it went bust. According to ex-employee accounts, it appears that the insolvency was apparent in advance, but no action was taken to inform employees of the fate of their jobs.
It has been reported by multiple employees that they were informed of their redundancy via generic email correspondence released at 1am on the morning of Thomas Cook’s insolvency, with some employees even claiming to have learnt of the loss of their job via the news. Though some may benefit from a potential protective award, the payment will only be made to those made redundant alongside a minimum of 19 others within the same workplace, meaning that those working in smaller offices will not qualify for payment.
A spokeswoman for the liquidators acting for Thomas Cook say that they “will co-operate with the tribunal process during the liquidation.”
Read more here.
Reported by Paige Waters
Michael O’Leary, the boss of Ryanair, has commented on the holiday market following the collapse of Thomas Cook, stating that it is ‘finished’.
O’Leary has criticised Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for granting Thomas Cook a licence months before its collapse. The CAA granted Thomas Cook their licence based on the fact they were fit to fly in April for 12 months.
However, although he has criticised the CAA he has also praised them for setting up the rescue airline which brought many holidaymakers home following Thomas Cooks collapse.
Following on from the criticism, O’Leary has stated that the CAA need to do ‘more to prevent airline failures in the first place’.
It has been claimed that the package holiday market is now ‘screwed’.
Read more here.
Reported by Sarah Mullane
Gatwick has announced plans to implement facial recognition technology throughout the airport, becoming the first British airport to negate the usual check required when passengers board planes.
According to their plans, the Airport will allow passengers to travel without the need to be checked by humans, but instead by using face-scanning technology; a new venture which they have recently trialled in conjunction with EasyJet. Once implemented, the new system is expected to cut waiting times during security procedures, and reduce the overall process time entirely. According to their recent trial, over 90 percent of passengers taking part in the trial claimed that it was “both easy and faster” when boarding.
Despite the positive feedback received, some consumers have complained that the technology causes issues and delays where passengers have a beard, or are hungover, and the facial technology fails to recognise their appearance. In addition, several Privacy campaigners have expressed their concerns over the data protection laws and a lack of valid consent which may be achieved prior to the launch of the technology.
According to a representative from Privacy International, the placing of “vague signs” inside the check in area which simply state that the technology is in use is “inadequate [..] to satisfy the strict transparency and consent requirements imposed by data-protection laws.” A Gatwick spokeswoman replied to concerns and stated that the technology was designed to be “compliant with all data protection law” and that it would not be compulsory for passengers to use the facial recognition technology to have their passports checked, but can instead opt to be checked by human staff.
Following Gatwick’s announcement, it is expected that Heathrow will soon follow suit, with the West-London Airport having already committed £50 million this summer alone in trialling the new technology for their check-in, baggage, security and boarding services.
Both airports urge passengers to continue bringing their passports with them, as they will continue to be required at their destination country.
Find out more here.